Deuteronomy 20:1
When you go out to war against your enemies and see horses, chariots, and an army larger than yours, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you.
Sermons
Christian Life a WarfareJ. Wolfendale.Deuteronomy 20:1-4
Fear ForbiddenW. Jay.Deuteronomy 20:1-4
Righteous WarJ. Wolfendale.Deuteronomy 20:1-4
WarJ. Orr Deuteronomy 20:1-5
Military Service to be VoluntaryD. Davies Deuteronomy 20:1-9
Religious WarsR.M. Edgar Deuteronomy 20:1-20
The wars of the world form a large part of its history. Savage nations delight in war, revel in its bloodshed and barbarities. Their heaven is a Valhalla. Civilized communities, while averse from having wars waged on them, are not always so averse from waging war on others. Military ambition, lust of conquest, hope of enrichment by pillage, the wiping out of old grudges, may instigate them to this course. Wherever or however waged, wars are a source of incalculable misery. It may be said of them, "It must needs be that wars come, but woe to that man by whom the war cometh!" War is not to be sought, it is to be by every legitimate means avoided, but it may become a necessity. In this case it must be bravely undertaken, and our trust placed in God for his help.

I. RELIGIOUS COURAGE NEEDED IN WAR. It is a not uncommon idea that the influence of religion is adverse to the hardier elements in character. The Christian faith in particular is thought to inculcate a meek passivity of disposition, which, if not absolutely inconsistent with patriotism, courage, and other soldierly virtues, is at least unfavorable to their development. The man of spirit and the devout man are supposed to represent two opposite and incompatible types of character. This idea is strange, when we remember how largely the images and illustrations of the Christian life in Scripture are drawn from warfare. But it is sufficiently refuted by reference to facts. The meekness and unwearied forgivingness which is to characterize the Christian in his private relations is perfectly compatible with the most unflinching heroism in the discharge of public duty, and in the service of his country in her appeal to the God of battles. Christian meekness is not softness or effeminacy. On the contrary, it is an aspect of the highest courage, and develops moral qualities which make it easier to act courageously in any circumstances in which the individual may be placed. Civil liberty has seldom fared better than in the hands of God-fearing men. Instead of being the worst, they make the best soldiers. An army of soldiers, God-fearing and thoroughly disciplined, has usually proved more than a match for vastly superior forces of the enemy: Cromwell's Ironsides, the Scotch Covenanters, the Cameronians. As fine examples of the soldierly character, we may name Colonel Gardiner, Sir Henry Havelock, Captain Hedley Vicars. It would be the life and strength of our armies were they composed of such men from the top to the bottom of the scale.

II. WARLIKE COURAGE NEEDED IN RELIGION. We may apply the exhortations of these verses to the spiritual warfare. The gospel summons us to warfare.

1. With evil within us.

2. With the spiritual forces of evil around us.

3. With the hydra-headed incarnations of that evil in the institutions and customs, sins and follies of society.

It would be well if, in this campaign against evil, we could command in our ranks the same union, the same strict discipline, the same steadiness of action, above all, the same heroic bravery and endurance and preparedness to face the worst, which are often seen in earthly armies. Courage and readiness to sacrifice for Christ all that his cause demands, is a first condition of success in the spiritual warfare. There must be faith in the cause, devotion to the Leader, enthusiasm in his service, and the spirit of those who "love not their lives unto the death" (Revelation 12:11). Instead of this, how often, when the battle approaches, do our hearts faint, fear, tremble, and are terrified because of our enemies! Victories are not thus to be gained. We forget that he who is with us is more than they who are against us. The Lord is more to those in whose midst he is than all the horses and chariots and multitudes of people that can be brought against them. - J.O.







When thou goest out to battle.
I. UNDERTAKEN TO ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSE OF GOD. "In the name of our God we will set up our banners."

II. SANCTIONED BY THE WILL OF GOD.

1. God's will is ascertained by His presence.

2. God's will is declared by His servants.

III. CONDUCTED BY THE PRECEPTS OF GOD.

(J. Wolfendale.)

I. THIS WARFARE IS AGAINST MIGHTY ENEMIES.

1. Great in number.

2. Terrible in equipment.

II. IN THIS WARFARE RIGHT MEN ARE WANTED.

1. Good leaders.

2. Good soldiers.

(1)Soldiers conscious of right.

(2)Soldiers willing to serve.

(3)Soldiers full of courage.

III. IN THIS WARFARE WE SHOULD NOT BE DISHEARTENED.

1. God's providence encourages us. "Brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." There is constant reference to this deliverance most striking and instructive. History unfolds Divine providence; abounds with proofs of omnipotence, and pledges of help. Examples are cited to animate to fortitude and virtue.

2. God's presence is with us. "The Lord thy God is with thee." Not merely as commander, but "goeth with you" into the greatest danger. Not as a spectator, like Xerxes, who viewed the conflict from on high, but "to fight for you" with the determination to save you. The Lord thy God, He it is, not a common general, "that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

(J. Wolfendale.)

Be not afraid
Israel had seen little of war, only a few brushes in their journey with inferior adversaries. Things would soon become more serious. Hence alarm and need of admonition and encouragement. All Christians are soldiers, and wage a good warfare. It is a necessary and trying warfare — continues through every season and in every condition. The forces of their enemies may be superior in number, vigilance, wisdom, and might. Hence danger of alarm and need of fortitude in the warrior. None have better grounds for courage than we; not in ourselves, for then we must fail.

I. THE DIVINE PRESENCE: "For the Lord thy God is with thee." Antigonus said to his troops, dismayed at the numbers of the foe," How many do you reckon me for? But God is all-wise and almighty. "They that be with us are more than they that he with them." "Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world."

II. HIS AGENCY: "Who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." To a Jew, this was not only a proof, but a pledge; not only showed what He could do, but was a voucher of what He would do. He is always the same, and never suffers what He has done to be undone. Strange would it have been, after opening a passage through the sea, to have drowned them in Jordan. What would have been thought of His great name, after placing Himself at their head to lead them to Canaan, if He had suffered them to be overcome by the way? He, who begins the work, is not only able to finish, but begins it for the very purpose. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"

(W. Jay.)

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